Why did Elton John fire Dee Murray and Nigel Olssen from his band after Captain Fantastic and the Dirt Brown Cowboy album?

Written by on December 4, 2020

Legend has it that Elton wanted to change his sound. In conversation with a famous producer he was discussing how best to shake things up. The response? Replace the rhythm section. Dee Murray and Nigel Olssen were given their walking papers.

Read: Boston

In retrospect, it signaled the end of Elton’s dominance. He did have hits after, and realistically his incredible streak was already waning. The replacement players were sterling, but rock isn’t always about the best player- chemistry and history are crucial. Nigel also brought vocals, and Dee was a unique talent.

I’ve always maintained that a bass player in a band built around the keyboard has an especially challenging role. Listen to Bennie and the Jets- everything about that bass part is perfection.

Elton was bored and looking for inspiration. Sometimes change can spark that creativity and renewed interest. He’s the genius and artist, so I’ll defer to him. Me? I thought the guys who got him there were the perfect foils and deserved better.


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